Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity
From humble origins, Emma Hamilton (1765-1815) rose to national and international fame as a model, performer, trendsetter and interpreter of neoclassical fashion. Yet, the host of books and films in which she has featured typically place her in a passive and supporting role.
Emma is often presented as the muse to painters such as George Romney, or partially obscured by the reputation of her lover, Horatio Nelson, hero of naval battles in the Napoleonic Wars, culminating in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). The tragic trajectory of her life, from childhood prostitution to final destitution and neglect, has also been used to present her story as by turns sordid and ridiculous. This landmark publication recovers Emma from myth and misrepresentation, and reveals her as an active and influential historical actor in her own right.
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